Last week, Rabbit roughed up the wrong suspect. As a result, he is under investigation for police brutality and if that wasn’t bad enough, his arch nemesis, Detective Inspector Tanner is leading the effort. Meanwhile, the secret society the crew is investigating has taken interest in Mabel and are recruiting her to their cause.
[SPOILERS FOR 1.3 AHEAD!]
There’s a youth gang problem in the East End and they need a couple officers to go undercover to bring down the operations. Strauss is enlisted to infiltrate the Stepney Boys while Tanner’s partner, Detective Sergeant Keith, will pose as a Flower Girl despite protests from Mabel. After all, she was born for this case, literally, anatomy and all. She eventually gets assigned to the case due to Keith’s inability to tuck “it” in.
Both the Stepney Boys and Flower Girls are in the body snatching business. After one night of graverobbing that almost comes down to blows, the two gangs decide to fight for ownership of the body snatching racket. Each side chooses one representative to fight to the death and winner takes all. Unfortunately for Strauss and Mabel, the newest recruits are picked.
Elsewhere, Rabbit is working his own case during a very reflective time. After being passed up for the youth gang case, the detective is coming to terms of becoming older. To further accentuate his realization, he investigates an unusual amount of deaths at Witch Hazel, a home for the elderly unwanted. If you couldn’t tell how creepy the institution is by the name, you must meet the caretaker and residents.
While looking for the killer, he his assaulted from behind and knocked unconscious. While recovering in the old folks’ home, he comes face to face with his attacker, one of the residents named Baby. She’s been murdering all the new people coming in who are younger than her so she can keep her moniker. Rabbit is next on her list since she drugged his drink and is waiting for him to pass out. Luckily, he never swallowed his drink and was only playing possum to get a confession. While his case is being wrapped up, he receives a message about his partners’ eminent duel to the death.
Strauss and Mabel’s rumble is going down and the two friends try to stall and posture as much as they can. Eventually they lunge at each other but are stopped by roaring laughter. The two gangs are actually working together to corner the body snatching business and found it awfully suspicious that they received two new recruits around the same time one of their own is busted. They bring out the snitch that vouched for the undercover cops and shoot him in the head. Strauss and Mabel are next but Rabbit arrives in the nick of time.
He challenges the Stepney Boys’ leader to a fight and wins using some old man trickery. The detective investigator uses the same poison Baby used to incapacitate his opponent before knocking him out. The police soon come and arrest all the criminals. The next day, the boss congratulate our heroes for a job well done and surprises his daughter with a badge. She’s finally become the first female officer.
Mabel shares the good news with her new friends, Lydia and her group. When she leaves the room, she’s unaware that they were responsible for her promotion and have sinister plans for her in the future.
There was a lot of comedic gold in this episode from the writing to the scenes. We see the return of Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man, who is tasked with making the prim and proper, Strauss, into a believable cockney. The whole reverse My Fair Lady segment is hilarious as Strauss must learn the accent and posture to go undercover. And if you have a good eye, you just might see a certain director of Thor: Ragnarök and Jojo Rabbit.
Sometimes the jokes are more subtle like those involving Rabbit’s aging. Peppered throughout are references to his getting older including his bifocals and lack of nearsightedness. It’s a testament to Berry’s brilliance for both commitment and execution. On the other side of the spectrum, Wokoma shows her dramatic chops as Mabel goes undercover. This is her first real assignment by herself and you could sense her fear and uneasiness as she makes contact with the Flower Girls. Maybe being a cop isn’t all fun and games?
As great as this episode is, I wished it touched more on the overarching narratives of the season. Other than a brief altercation with Tanner and the closing credits scene with Lydia and company, there was very little mentions to the police brutality case or the secret society.
Insult of the Night
Rabbit: Why didn’t you pick me for that Stepney Boys gig. I still got what it takes. I’m…thirty-two.
Chief Inspector: Thirty-two stone.